Marvel confirms Illuminati for Doctor Strange 2 — so who will we meet?
With just 10 days left until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters, Marvel has finally confirmed what fans have assumed since the second trailer came out: the secret organization known as the Illuminati would make their live-action debut.
That trailer drop in mid-February saw Benedict Cumberbatch's ex-Sorcerer Supreme standing in handcuffs before multiple chairs, when a voice — one that sounded an awful lot like Patrick Stewart, who played leader of the X-Men Charles Xavier in those other superhero movies — chimed in. Stewart would later kind of maybe confirm that was his voice during press interviews for Star Trek: Picard.
On Tuesday, Marvel decided it wouldn't beat around the bush anymore. A new 30-second promo sees a similar scene where Doctor Strange is carted in front of these mysterious figures by androids. A few chairs are vacant, although Marvel has edited some things out in past trailers to keep their big reveals secret. Chiwetel Ejiofor's Mordor then declares, "Stephen Strange, the Illuminati will see you now."
This now leads us to a bigger question: which major Marvel comic book hero(es) will we be meeting for the first time in the MCU?
The Illuminati of Marvel comics included Doctor Strange and Xavier, as well as Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans; Reed Richards, founding member of the Fantastic Four; Namor the Sub-Mariner, king of Atlantis; and Iron Man.
It seems like Xavier is already a lock for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, further hinting at Disney's larger plans to incorporate all the characters it acquired from Fox in that splashy acquisition, including the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Are the X-Men part of a different reality of the multiverse and that's how the concept of mutants are brought into the fold? Have mutants been in hiding in the current reality all this time?
We'd also bet an alternate reality version of Doctor Strange is a part of this lineup. Of course, meeting anyone else from the comics' Illuminati in the MCU would be huge. We've already seen Anson Mount's version of Black Bolt in the quickly canceled Inhumans ABC series that Disney would probably like us to forget. There have also been rumors about a possible Namor appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Could Doctor Strange be setting up a larger arc for that character? We know Disney has set a new Fantastic Four reboot for the MCU with Spider-Man director Jon Watts at the helm. Will Reed Richards be making his debut as part of the Illuminati first in Doctor Strange?
It wouldn't be the first time Disney and Marvel were able to hide major casting from the public until the movie was actually on screens. (See Harry Styles in Eternals.) Then again, maybe they have a different line-up of the Illuminati in mind for this movie.
How this version of the Illuminati functions is another mystery. The comics saw this league of extraordinary gentlemen work behind the scenes to mold the world and deal with global threats, with a member from each of the major superhero teams getting a voice in matters.
What we know of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is that the multiverse has been thrown into chaos after Doc's spell-gone-wrong in Spider-Man: No Way Home. He will travel the vastness of the multiverse with Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), encountering alternate versions of himself, including that evil incarnation we met in the animated What If...? Disney+ series. Is this Illuminati more like guardians of the multiverse and they want to stop Doctor Strange from further messing things up?
Thank god we only have 10 days before all these questions are put to rest. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters May 6.
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